Communication - EzFedGrants Introduction

Communication - EzFedGrants Introduction

 

A Message from APHIS Chief Financial Officer Barbara Thompson

This message is being sent to all Authorized Departmental Officer’s Designated Representative (ADODR),  Authorized Departmental Officer (ADO) and Agreement Specialist (AS)  

Colleagues,

An automated grants and agreements system is coming to USDA! On October 1, 2016, APHIS and the National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) will implement USDA’s ezFedGrants. The Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), and Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) have already implemented the system and other USDA agencies will follow. We need you to assist by reaching out to your cooperators with instructions to authorize them to use this new system.

ezFedGrants is a new grant and agreement management system that will:

  • Strengthen financial oversight of the Agency’s 1,400 cooperative agreements;
  • Improve management and reporting of data and results;
  • Improve efficiency by eliminating redundancies across systems;
  • Provide transparency and simplification of processes for cooperators;
  • Allow for digital signature processing;
  • Give cooperators self-service abilities for all their USDA agreements; and
  • Modernize our grants & cooperative agreement processing end-to-end through a technology-based, paperless system.

ezFedGrants brings together all the internal and external steps in the agreements process into one system:

  • USDA creating an announcement (Opportunity stage),
  • The grant recipient applying for an opportunity (Application stage),
  • USDA performing the application review for competitive grants (Application stage),
  • USDA awarding (Agreement stage),
  • USDA or grant recipient requesting changes (Post Award stage),
  • The grant recipient requesting reimbursement and submitting reports (Post Award stage), and
  • USDA and grant recipient completing the award (Closeout stage).  

ezFedGrants provides completely paperless management of grants, cooperative agreements and indemnities and, eventually, other transactions, including memorandums of understanding, interagency agreements, and cost reimbursements. ezFedGrants is integrated with APHIS’ budget and financial systems (the Financial Management Modernization Initiative - FMMI) and payment processes, as well as external systems such as Grants.gov.

Now is the time to start talking with your cooperators and preparing them for the new system. The attached ezFedGrants talking points describe the system and will help to answer your cooperators’ questions. The Financial Management Division (FMD) will provide training webinars and materials for employees and cooperators before and after ezFedGrants launches, but right now, it’s important to work with your cooperators to ensure they will have access to the system when it goes live. This will give us plenty of time to work out any access issues well before ezFedGrants launches.

The first thing your cooperators need to do in order to be able to access ezFedGrants is be eAuthenticated to Level 2.  To be eAuthenticated, cooperators should visit USDA eAuthentication - where they can go through the process. I’ve also attached an ezFedGrants Job Aid that walks through every step in the process if your cooperator has any questions. Cooperators should get their eAuthentication to Level 2 no later than September 30, 2016. ezFedGrants is working on a partnership that will allow cooperators to obtain eAuthentication Level 2 online.

We will provide you additional information to keep your cooperators informed in the coming months with more information on ezFedGrants, as well as provide training aids, webinars and documents to assist everyone with the transition. All documents and training related material will be posted to the ASC intra-net website located at the following link: Agreement Services Center. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact APHIS.Agreements.Services.Center@aphis.usda.gov.

Finally, USDA developed a YouTube video that describes the new ezFedGrants system at a high conceptual level.

Thank you for your help to make the implementation of ezFedGrants a success.

 

Barbara L. Thompson
APHIS Chief Financial Officer
 


 

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